STRENGTHA2 & NIKHIL’S
(ably assisted by the Shrimp)
AIM: Circuit strength
training to improve running
& cycling performance.
Focus is on coordination
between different muscles
using the bigger muscle
groups. We are not aiming
at isolation. You want to
gain strength but not pile
on the pounds.
CUSTOM MADE FOR MY BEST CARDIO MEN
Each circuit should take 20-25 mins. Do 2 circuits.
- Minimal breaks between working out different body
parts : 30 secs at max.
- Sets to be average of 15 reps
- 5-7 mins of cardio to get heart rate up & get sweating
- Loosen up the big muscles – get quads, lower back,
open up chest, deltoids & pectorals firing
- Between 10-12 reps, it should start to feel difficult &
you should need to muscle through the last 3 reps
- Remember to breathe in at the top of the exercise,
breathe out at the power (lifting/ pulling) part.
Preparation: Grasp two
dumbbells. Lie supine on
bench. Support dumbbells
above chest with arms
fixed in slightly bent
position. Internally rotate
shoulders so elbows point
out to sides. Small of your
back should form an arch.
dumbbells to sides until
chest muscles are
stretched with elbows fixed
in slightly bent position.
Bring dumbbells together
in hugging motion until
dumbbells are nearly
Comments: you should get
a stretch at the bottom of
the movement and a
squeeze at the top of the
Getting better chest muscles is crucial for endurance
athletes. This is because the chest muscles are
responsible for flexing your upper arm bone (as you’d
do when swimming), moving the arm inwards (as you’d
do when holding bike handlebars) rotating the arm
bone towards the body (as you’d do when running), and
breathing deeply (as you’d do during intense exertion).
Variation: Perform the dumbbell fly exercise on an
incline bench to target the clavicular head of the chest
muscle. Decline the bench to target the sternal head
more. Your anterior deltoid, or front shoulder muscle,
assists during any version of the dumbbell fly exercise.
If you do the fly on a stability ball instead of a weight
bench, you will involve your core
muscles, including your rectus
abdominis and obliques. These
muscles activate to help stabilize your
torso on the unstable surface of the
This exercise flattens and
tones the chest. It
doesn’t add mass to
chest – which is the
last thing you need
Start with your back on
the ground and your
hands at your
sides. Your feet should
be shoulder width apart.
Lift your hips up to the
sky and bring your
hands underneath you.
Bend at the back and try
to bring your chest to
Be sure not to let your
knees kick out too far.
Breathing is all-
important. To isolate
lower back muscles
effectively, suck in
continuing to breathe in
half-bridge position Do
not hold your breath.
Do as many as you can.
If there isn’t access to a pull-up bar, roll up a
long towel as tight as you can – it should
have as much give as steel! Now, hold both
ends of it high over your head and pull down
behind your head. Focus on pulling down with
the lats and squeeze!
Just like reinforced steel can
bear more weight than sheet
aluminum, a strong, well-
conditioned back can
withstand more stress, and
protect the spine better,
than a back that has not
Half-bridge & pull ups
Hold for 30 seconds
and release. Do this 2-3
To get more range,
move both feet away a
Single leg squats/ clock lunges
The hamstring muscle,
which runs along the back
of the thigh, helps bend
the knee and absorbs
shock when runners push
off of the ground.
While lying on your back,
place your lower legs on a
Swiss ball. Then, put your
hands flat on the floor next
to your hips.
Push your hips up so that
your body forms a straight
line from your shoulders to
your knees. Without
pausing, pull your heels
toward you and roll the
ball as close as
possible to your butt.
Pause, then roll the ball
back until your body is
in a straight line again.
If lower back twinges,
switch to the alternate
exercise below, or the
hams machine at the gym.
The quadriceps muscle in your upper leg is the largest
muscle group in your body. Their main function during
the act of running is to extend the knee, and then
contract to pull your knee toward your chest. The quads
should be 25% stronger than the hams.
In the quads squats, form is very important. The knee
should go down in the same line as the foot. A variation
is to stand on an elevated surface with one leg and do
the squats. A tough variation is the pistol – stretch one
leg out ahead of you and then squat.
Clock lunges are lunges where you
start with the leg going front in 12
o’ clock position and lunge at
every 10 min mark, going to 6
Single leg squats/ clock lunges, Swiss ball curls
Swiss ball curls
For a complete leg workout,
once a week, instead of the
circuit workout below, do
plyometric workout. It works on
the fast-twitch muscles.
Adductors & abductors
Swings/ cable swings
The hams can be worked
using a resistance band.
Lie on your stomach after
tying the cuffs of the
resistance band to the
ankle, with the band itself
belayed around a pole.
Use the resistance to pull.
This gives a nice range of
Your adductor and abductor muscles are located on the
inside and outside of your hips, respectively. These
small, yet powerful, muscles control the outward and
inward rotation of your hip joints, where your upper leg
meets your pelvis. These muscles are responsible for
firing hip flexors for generating power and stabilizing
To work these muscles, work with resistance bands/
without them. Stand with legs shoulder length apart,
swing one leg outward to the side without losing form
and bring leg back to position. Repeat. Do the same
inward, swinging leg towards stationary leg and beyond
it, towards opposite hand and back.
Do adductors and abductors
Resistance band exercises/ swings
The hamstrings, glutes and
go a long way in making sure
you don’t get ITBS!! So get
serious about making it an
important part of your workout
Single leg squats
These squats are like the
squats for quads. Bend
at the hip and knee to
lean forward, squat
down low and bring your
hands close to the floor
to touch the outside of
your foot (10 o’clock or
2 o’clock position,
depending on the foot
that is on the ground).
Stand back up.
Try the 11, 12, 1, 2
o’clock positions for
Your calves are doing a lot of work while you run. To
avoid injuries like Achilles Tendonitis/ problems with
the gastrocnemius or soleus muscles, it is essential to
stretch and strengthen the calf muscles. Same goes for
stretching the shins – avoiding shin splints is a brilliant
Calf raises – stand at an elevated surface, like stairs,
with toes balancing on the elevated surface, heels
hanging out and balancing. Raise, hold and drop heels
Shin raises – stand with your heels on an elevated
platform and raise the toes.
Do 20 reps in each set.
For more juice, use weights.
Calf raises/ single leg squats
When we run, the glutes hold our
pelvis level and steady, extend our
hip, propel us forward, and keep our
legs, pelvis, and torso aligned. So
when our glutes are faulty, our entire
kinetic chain gets disrupted. Studies
link glute weakness to Achilles
tendinitis, shin splints & ITBS.
This is a real world
Hang from the pull up
bar till failure. That
means, till fingers drop
off the bars of their own
volition. Once you get
good at this, work with
one hand at a time and
swap hands before you
29 muscles in the mid-torso to mid-thigh region. These
muscles together produce force while running/ cycling,
dynamically stabliise the body. It transfers power from
both sides and from top of the body to the bottom &
Minimum of 90 seconds for full planks, 1 minute each
for side planks (on your hands, not elbows).
Try variations, like push ups while in plank position,
dog ear scratch, leg swivel, lifting weights with one
hand & Pavan’s personal favourites – 1 push up + side
plank and push up+leg swivel up to introduce knee to
ear, repeat on other side. The idea is to introduce
Planks, grip exercise
Front military press
Shoulder strength is
needed for runners &
cyclists for general
balance. For runners, it
also puts strength into the
propelling the arms do.
Do front military press,
behind the neck press,
If that gets boring,
substitute with push ups
with arms at different
widths, till tired
Lift the weights or barbell starting from behind the head
at shoulder level, and press up and down behind the
Caveat: use a weight that is easily manageable and
don’t bend to lift/ do jerky movements, or you could hurt
Grasp dumbbells in front of thighs with elbows slightly
bent. Bend over slightly with hips and knees bent
Raise upper arms to sides
until elbows are shoulder
height. Maintain elbows'
height above or equal to
wrists. Lower and
Front military press, behind the head press, lateral raises
Behind the head press
For the biceps, do close grip pull ups (inward facing). If
tired, do dumbbell/ barbell curls. Pull ups are
suggested because it is a functional strength movement
– it is not focused on isolating biceps, which may gave
you John Abraham’s gun show but not useful in real
For the triceps, do tricep push-ups by putting feet up on
a chair, holding yourself up on another chair behind you
and suspending body in between. Now do push-ups.
Form is important in this one – make sure legs are
parallel to the floor and back is completely straight.
Pull-ups, tricep push-ups
Pull-ups, tricep push-ups
Plyometric exercises use your own body weight
through explosive movement. A plyometric-trained
runner can improve his running economy because of
improved muscle contraction and more efficient strides,
and your quads are the main recipient muscles. The
frogger exercise requires you to explode from a
squatting position with your arms extended straight in
front of your body. Sweep your arms backwards, then
quickly forward using your momentum to propel your
body upward into a jump. Land as lightly as possible,
and resume the squatting position. Repeat for 6 to 8
reps, and increase as your quads grow stronger.
Tuck jumps, jump and sprint, two-way hop, skip-up,
drop jump, speed bound, two-hand wall pass… there is
a whole world waiting for you out there! Go, discover it!
You have done
start. Then you
can think of
Make sure you stretch all the parts of the body that you
just worked out. Done? Now go, get yourself a big fat
protein smoothie. Talk to Monica about Zeus Juice, the
latest best friend of runners, cyclists and other animals.
Get yourself a vatful, drink and relax.
Next step, get yourself a nice cold shower, then go to
work, you have the most awesome business in town to
run, for Pete’s sake. Don’t dawdle about!
No, seriously, good job, boys. Do this for 2 days a week
for the next 3 months, we will then increase the
intensity by a notch.
Full-body limber down